Se7en (1995)

Directed by David Fincher
Written by Andrew Kevin Walker
(number 140)

It seemed appropriate to watch this movie when I’d just started watching Mindhunter, Fincher’s newest tv series about serial killers. This guy has a serious MO. He’s also got a high number of movies on this list, so I get it. He appeals – his movies are slick, and they deal with some disturbing, taboo shit.

I remember when this movie came out – I was too young to watch it by three years, and I was fine with that. Then I remember it being on offer at friend’s sleepovers and just sooooo not wanting to know. Lots of my friends did watch it, somehow, and I heard about things that happened in it. The posters were all over town, it gets written about and I deliberately spoiled it for myself so I wouldn’t have a morbid curiosity about it.

At least I know Fincher makes a slick film, even if the subject matter is pretty disturbing.

I don’t love Mills’s casual homophobia.

I am interested that the actual plot line of the movie is not too predictable. There’s the inevitability of the murders, the what feels like a relatively early reveal of Jon Doe, and then him turning himself in. However I feel like the music of the movie lets some of the twists down. It keeps you on edge, keeps reminding you that bad shit is happening, that it’s going to continue to happen. It’s not a movie you can ever relax while watching. Which… I think it undermines the drama.

Does it make me love the people? Yep, Mills and Somerset are both instantly likeable and I think it’s because they’re such obvious stereotypes that you can instantly connect to. The ageing veteran, Somerset, he’s seen it all, he knows so much, this is his last case before he retires and he’s played by Morgan Freeman who’s just instantly likeable. Mills is the rookie, the full of energy spitfire who’s determined to make a difference. It’s easy to understand and they’re played well so you connect to them.

Bechdel test: looolllll no. The only live woman with a name is Tracy and at first she’s just a perfect fifties era housewife, hair flips and all. She only speaks to the men. Mrs Gould is arguably a named woman but she only talks to the men too. We don’t even see women in the big groups of police officers.

Later Tracy gets to be a little flawed but still beautiful, she reaches out to Somerset for the best advice ever of course, it’s about being a mother – such a womanly thing.

Best line:

Somerset: Uh… Doc, is there absolutely no chance that he might survive?
Dr. Beardsley: Detective, he’d die of shock right now if you were to shine a flashlight in his eyes. He’s experienced about as much pain and suffering as anyone I’ve encountered, give or take… and he still has hell to look forward to. Good night.

State of Mind: The movie as I said, was spoiled for me. But I can see how going in fresh it would have been a good mystery and a new kind of thing. The influence of this movie is pretty clear on stuff I’ve watched more recently, including Saw and Prisoners, films like that. I didn’t enjoy this film though, it’s too much keeping the viewer on the edge and too much gross out. Great performances, will not watch it again.

Watched movie count


The Social Network (2010)

Directed by David Fincher
Written by Aaron Sorkin based on the book by Ben Mezrich
(number 384)

This movie starts as it means to go on, with cutting dialogue, social realism and a refusal to deify Mark Zuckerberg. I love this line so much:

Erica Albright: You are probably going to be a very successful computer person. But you’re going to go through life thinking that girls don’t like you because you’re a nerd. And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won’t be true. It’ll be because you’re an asshole.

Aaron Sorkin is of course, excellent in politics and courtroom drama. I loved A Few Good Men and a lot of people I know love the West Wing.

The film is beautifully shot in saturated greys and golds, the soundtrack is by turns calming and discordant, perfectly matching the content of the scenes. I’m not 100% in love with the framing of the court case and flashbacks to the ‘past’ to show how things unfolded.

The best irony about this movie is that as I’m typing up this blog post and watching the movie, I’m also on Facebook. I use it to keep in contact with my direct and extended family, friends all over the globe and the person I live with. I’ve used the messenger chat function to co-write a novel with a friend in West Virginia. The way Facebook inhabits space in my life is undeniable and I’m not sure I can extricate myself. Come to that I don’t really want to either.

Does it make me love the people?
Jessie Eisenberg is great as Mark, you really do want to punch his face. I love Justin Timberlake in this, I love him as an actor. He’s brilliant in this, but also love him in Black Snake Moan a lot. He’s so smooth as Sean, so smooth and fast talking and projecting everything that’s cool. Andrew Garfield is adorable too, I feel for him as a character… although it is somewhat depressing that they cast a white British boy as a Brazilian man.

Bechdel test: No. Erica talks to her roommate but it’s about Mark blogging about her. Also I don’t think her roommate is named. The women are almost always just sex objects in this movie, they’re the ‘Silicon Valley sluts’ and the cheated on girlfriends and the girls they ‘win’ by being cool and good businessmen. They’re giggling on the couch while playing video games ‘wrong’ and being irrationally angry at being ignored. It’s not a movie about women.

Best line:
Eduardo: (swings as if to punch Sean and then pulls back when he flinches) I like standing next to you, Sean. You make me look tough.

State of Mind: The movie is slick, beautiful and gorgeous. The people in it are awful, and I don’t know how much of it is true, but of course it doesn’t truly matter. This version of events is what people know best, and it’s presented in such a way that you believe in it enough. I don’t think the end bit with Mark staring at Erica’s facebook profile is anything but creepy though. Why did they do it? Is it just to hammer home that he’s alone in the world? We already got that when he asked out the lawyer woman and she turned him down. I guess it’s a full circle reference, I don’t think it’s necessary.

Watched movie count